The University of Southampton has been undergoing restructuring for about a year now and we are no down to the real brass tacks. As a result the OneShare team has become part of the Web And Internet Science (WAIS) research group. While it is a shame to leave my roots in LSL I hope we will retain the spirit and good nature we have become accustomed too and we are all relishing the opportunity to do something new and collaborate with new people. As a group forming exercise we held the first WAIS away day, which in true ECS fashion was neither away nor a day, WAISfest. The group of 160 people (phd students, academic staff and research assistants) divided into 6 teams following a champion with an exciting research idea. The aim is that people team up to work on something interesting they might not otherwise be able to work on and learn about the other people in there group and create some cool stuff in the process. Each team had 3 days to put something together and then we had a big party to report our results.
I was on the team championed by my good friend (and short term OneShare research fellow) Charlie Hargood. Charlie is a hypertext fiend and is interested in the new affordences of publishing in styles which are never designed to be printed. This includes interactive fiction, text with spacial or temporal themes and a whole raft of other interesting ideas. The project we undertook has become known as the Strange Hypertexts working group. Over the 3 days Charlies team sat down and came up with 4 new tools for publishing or augmenting hypertext. Three of these solutions were implemented and a specification for the 4th was drawn up. We also put together a community website (www.strangehypertexts.org) on which we made catalogue to showcase some existing hypertext. Strangehypertexts.org also forms the base of our community site which we hope will become a focus for those interested in strange hypertext around the country (and globe) to come and discuss, review and introduce interesting new mediums for publishing.
If you aren’t getting the message yet or are curious to know more visit strangehypertexts.org and ask questions on our google group. We welcome and encourage your comments and thoughts.